How Cultures Matter on the Boundary between “Normality” and “Abnormality”: A Case Study for “Sharenting” in Taiwan

Abstract

With the recently controversial trend in "sharenting" on social media, the moral judgment of sharing their children online has been debated in Taiwan. This study argued that cultures influence the viewpoint of this moral issue in Taiwanese society. To verify, this paper begins with the original definitions of “normality” and “abnormality” in Chinese, and then further discuss three main cultural perspectives (i.e., Confucianism, Western psychopathology, and the “Lolita culture”) on the moral judgment of "sharenting". Based on the cultural perspective approach, this study reveals different worldviews of cultures contribute to different attitudes toward "sharenting". That is, based on the Confucian worldview, “children” are viewed as a possession owned by parents, and so it is normal to "sharenting" their children’s lives with the public. In the "Lolita" culture, dressing up in adorable clothing is acceptable, and thus may justify the "sharenting". Conversely, under the discourse of the American Psychiatric Association (APA), people abnormally interesting in prepubescent children might be labeled as "pedophilia". These diverse cultures co-exist in Taiwanese society, presenting that even when people living in the same society discuss the same issue, different sources of cultural worldview can mediate their thoughts. Different cultures from different countries have been widely examined by comparative studies, yet few have discussed different cultures within the same country. Therefore, this research aims to emphasize different cultural perspectives in the same society, and provides an exploratory discussion about the boundary between normality and abnormality germane to "sharenting". Finally, implications and further directions are discussed herein.



Author Information
Huaiyu Chen, Boston University, United States

Paper Information
Conference: MediAsia2020
Stream: Social Media and Communication Technology

This paper is part of the MediAsia2020 Conference Proceedings (View)
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